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On March 30,2001, BART management suspended Ray Quan, without pay and without a hearing. Ray has always been a fighter for the rights of workers, both at BART and outside. He stood up to management in his ten years as Chief Steward for Oakland Shops and as East Bay Vice President of SEIU Local 790.

He frequently speaks out against management abuses and calls the union leadership to task when they get too cozy with the bosses. He has done this not only through his union positions but also as co-editor of Oaktown News and as author of  Odds 'N Ends. Management wants to silence him and to intimidate all of us by threatening to fire him. It is no coincidence that this is happening at contract time.

Once again, management is misusing the Violence in the Workplace Program. Rather than use it to protect employees from real violence, they are using it in a corrupt and cynical manner to silence an outspoken worker .

The Story

The whole swing shift at the Oakland Shop was eliminated a little over a year ago. Some time after that, a rumor began circulating that a supervisor was now taking a BART vehicle 70 miles to his home, claiming that he needed to be "on call " since now there was no one in the Shop on swing.

However, when the rare call comes, it is his subordinate who comes in "because he lives closer".  The rumor was unconfirmed until someone took a picture of the BART vehicle in Manteca and gave it to Quan. This picture became the center of controversy that has resulted in Quan's suspension.

Quan published it in the February issue of Odds 'N Ends (Vol. VII, No.3), along with other articles. One satirized the Districts hypocrisy in this matter. BART claimed that the picture proved Ray was guilty of  stalking.

When then discovered that he hadn't taken the picture, they changed directions and charged him with "retaliation and intimidation." On April 25, 2001, BART sent a letter to Ray, terminating him effective May 10, 2001. The District’s termination letter claimed that, “The February 28, 2001 Odds ‘N Ends Volume VII, No. 3, newsletter, represented a deliberate attempt to harass, frighten, intimidate and terrorize…”

The picture is of a public vehicle on a public street. And while the District may not like exposure of the perks it spreads around management, pointing it out is hardly "retaliation and intimidation."

Was it Violence in the Workplace?

Several months ago Ray published a satirical newsletter called “Shooting News.” It poked fun at the District because they had erroneously sent him home and later had to pay him for the day. As a result, Ray, who is an avid target shooter and long time gun safety instructor, had spent the day at the range on the District’s dime and thus the name “Shooting News.”

The District retaliated by claiming that they could somehow construe his action as a threat and thus a violation of their Violence in the Workplace program. Management claims for itself the right to decide what is violence in the workplace and what is not, who they will use it against, and who they won't. So the program becomes not one to protect employees from real violence but a means to retaliate against a worker they don't like.

They kept Ray off the property 45 days negotiating a settlement. The facts were that there was no threat made or intended and the District had no real case. But they do have deep pockets. They could afford to keep Ray off the property for 12 to 18 months before they lose in arbitra- tion. And who knows, they might get lucky and get a split decision with no back pay.

Under these conditions Ray had to make the tough decision to accept loss of pay for "time served" and several other conditions, which were easier to accept – including – no violations of the Violence in the Workplace Program. The District made it clear across the table that this was not intended to get around Ray's constitutional right to publish. However, in the present case this is exactly what they are doing. If you think we are exaggerating read the Feb. 28th issue of Odds N' Ends. Judge for yourself.

There is no violation of Violence in the Workplace Program here period! If they can get away with calling this issue of  Odds N' Ends a violation of Violence in the Workplace then anything any BART worker writes or even says critical of management will be a violation as well.

 In an attempt to bolster their  weak case, the District has made a series of misleading and even knowingly false statements to the Alameda County Courts to try to get an injunction against Quan to keep him away from his workplace. This is not only a very cynical maneuver on the part of the District, but also a dangerous one for all of us.

Management is attempting to go around the contract, which does not allow workers to be put off the property without a hearing unless they violate the "big seven." BART has been unable to get the "big seven" expanded through negotiation. Now they are attempting to expand them via the court system.

What's Going On?

Management always hates the idea that workers can have free speech, or any other rights for that matter. They do whatever they can to discourage us from exercising our rights. They would prefer it if we had no choice but to be good little soldiers on management's team, too afraid even to speak out. But more to the point, this is contract time.

Despite the fact that the District is rolling in extra cash due to record ridership and tax revenues, they are aggressively going after take backs at the bargaining table. In the past, militant workers speaking out and organizing against take-aways have been the key to worker victories. This time the District is making a pre-emptive strike to quiet potential opposition. They are taking steps to eliminate an outspoken worker like Ray, and to make us think twice about opposing the take-away contract that they want.

This fight does not just affect Ray Quan. It affects all workers and all our rights. It is important for all of us to make it clear to the District that we will not accept this gross injustice to Ray nor will we be intimidated into silence. An injury to one is an injury to all !

We urge workers at BART, in Local 790, and in the community to support Ray Quan.
Come to the Alameda County Superior Court hearing, May 14th, 9:00 AM,  Dept. 19, 1221 Oak St., Oakland

Let BART know that you oppose its anti-worker, anti-union activity.
Help us organize a fight for justice and in defense of all of our rights.

The following a.ffiliations and titles for identification purposes only

Steve Gilbert            Mechanic, CHB*, BART Chapter, SEIU 790*
Chris Finn               Train Operator, ATU 1555*, Transit Worker Front/liness*
Alan Derman           Station Agent, ATU 1555*, Transit Worker Front/liness*
Sal Almanza            Chief Steward Track & Structures  BART Chapter, SEIU 790*    
Wilmer Fong            CAMP* 
Dr. David Dong        YMCA, CAMP*
Michael Granat        Train Operator, ATU 1555*, Transit Worker Front/liness* 
Gene Pepi                Station Agent ATU 1555*, Transit Worker Front/liness*
Bay Area Workers Democracy Network
Maria Guillen           Recording Secretary, SEIU LocaI 790*  
Gwendolyn Bishop,    Station Agent, ATU1555*
John Maher            Vice President BART Chapter, SEIU LocaI 790*
Steve Bristow         Vice President, SEIU LocaI 790*
Chia Hamilton       OPEIU Local 29*
Steve Napoli        Train Operator, ATU 1555*, Transit Worker Front/liness*
Bud Brandenburger Chief Steward ODY BART, SEIU Local 790*
Lisa Isler            Chapter Recording Secretary, BART Chapter, SEIU 790*
Meeka Quan     Cleveland Federation of Musicians , Local 4*
Joe Burrell          Retired Chief Steward System Service, BART Chapter SEIU 790*
Bob A. James     Chief Steward Foreworkers, BART Chapter SEIU 790*  
Rex Spray            Vice President, SEIU  790*
Jane Scantlebury    SEIU 535*
David Christiano    Alameda Educators Association *
Ed Kinchley           President, SFGH Chapter,   SEIU 790*
Naomi Schwatz     Instructor, St. Mary’s College*
Jose DeAraujo      Elevator Constructors Local #8
Stacey Kono         AIWA *
George Lai            American Federation of Teachers,    YMCA, CAMP*
Albert Lannon     Chair, Labor Studies Dept.,  Laney College, Labor Council Delegate, Peralta Federation of Teachers
Gary Switzer          Chief Steward   System Service, BART Chapter, SEIU I790
Ellen Starbird        Labor Studies Instructor, Laney College, SEIU*
Jocelyn Wong        Field Rep, SEIU 1000*
Austin Thomas    Chair, Training Committee, BART, Chapter, SEIU 790*
Barry Wong        SF Firefighters Union, CAMP*
Manuel Vega    Vice President BART Chapter, SEIU 790*
Raymond “Nat” Turner    Upsurge


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